It is a chef’s job to create unique dishes full of flavor and zest. If you’re an aspiring chef, you would probably like to know what the great chefs before you like to use as ingredients. While every chef should come up with their own tastes and dishes, it’s always helpful to have a few ideas for staple ingredients in your food. These seven ingredients are great for any aspiring chef to know about and experiment with when creating their own food masterpieces.
Anchovies get a bad reputation, but many chefs swear by them. When anchovies are poorly incorporated into dishes, it may not be the best option. But if you can integrate them well into the food you’re making, they add depth and a touch of saltiness. They can be used in a variety of sauces and vinaigrettes, and they’re great in all kinds of Italian dishes.
- Balsamic Vinegar
Balsamic Vinegar can be used to add richness to all kinds of dishes. Homemade balsamic vinaigrette is a favorite for all kinds of salads, but many chefs also use balsamic vinegar in marinades. You can pair cheese and fruit with balsamic vinegar for your appetizer, and there are even excellent ways to combine balsamic vinegar with chocolate for rich deserts.
- Citric Acid
Citric acid is a natural ingredient found in citrus fruits like lemons, limes, and oranges. The acid from these fruits helps to break down fatty meats, but it can also add tangy zest to sauces, dips, and dressing. It’s a key ingredient in a lot of southwestern dishes like Pico de Gallo or guacamole. Overall, citric acids are a great way to incorporate fruit flavors and tang into any dish.
- Fish Sauce
Anytime you use garlic or need an intense flavor, fish sauce is a great ingredient to add to a dish. Anchovies are in fish sauce, so you get some of the great elements of anchovies in the sauce. Overall, fish sauce lets you add a ton of favor with very little preparation and time.
Honey is a natural sweetener and form of sugar, but it’s not just a sugar replacement; honey provides a rich depth of flavor with any dish. There are lots of types of honey that you need to use in your dishes. Honey can add fruitier flavors, floral flavors, woody flavors, and can even be used in some recipes just to replace sugar. You can use honey to marinate meats or incorporate honey into your sauces. If you want to create really unique deserts, honey is an awesome ingredient to get a feel for as well.